Fatboy Slim The Fatboy Slim / Norman Cook Collection (Universal/Hip-O)
Fatboy Slim On the Floor at the Boutique: Mixed by Fatboy Slim (Astralwerks)

The Fatboy Slim / Norman Cook Collection, and On the Floor at the Boutique: Mixed by Fatboy Slim (Universal/Hip-O)

Fatboy Slim

The Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook Collection (Universal/Hip-O)

Fatboy Slim

On the Floor at the Boutique: Mixed by Fatboy Slim (Astralwerks)

These days former Housemartin Norman Cook is better known to stateside audiences through his Better Living Through Chemistry and the frat-rock-anthem-heavy You've Come a Long Way Baby under his nom de wastéd Fatboy Slim, but back in the late Eighties/mid-Nineties, stormin' Norman was best known as the remixer to funk with. His penchant for sticky, fat beats and a rollicking sense of fun fueled the justly famed Brighton, England, big beat scene, and his residency at the traveling Big Beat Boutique assured his future success. The Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook Collection brings together his extremely varied output from before "Praise You" began to grate from overplay, many of the tracks lacking the bombast characteristic of Fatboy's more recent work. The raggafied remix of A Tribe Called Quest's "I Left my Wallet in El Segundo" is a snippy little dubtreat, and Deeds + Thoughts' "The World is Made Up of This and That" twists a vocal hook ever skyward, dropping in one a patented Fatboy bust-up midway through. This is a party album, to be sure, not a history lesson, and the same goes for Astralwerks' painfully funky sampling of Big Beat Boutique staples mixed by none other than Cook. Electronica compilations like this are almost always a mixed bag, so it's a relief this one is so well thought out. There's nary a vacant beat on the disc's 20 tracks, from "Apache" by Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band and Cook's booty-grinding take on "Michael Jackson" to Christopher Just's shrieking "I'm a Disco Dancer" and annoyingly popular Fatboy closer "Rockafeller Skank." There's a world of tremendous beats in between, all calculated to pack the floor with sweaty, hedonistic overflow, so if you're listening to these in the solitude of your own home, get pissed, close your eyes, and dance into the wall like a blithering hedonist. You know you want to.

(Collection) ***

(Boutique) ****

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